Today was a real meditation day on John 3:7-14 and it’s been unsettling a little bit more than I expected. The other day I made the surprising connection that all of the exhortations that John the Baptist makes for how to express repentance dealt with money/possessions. I’m sure there are many things in which we show repentance but this is a clear one. As the Scripture says, “The love of money is the root of all evil.”
I don’t feel like I’m dishonest with how I handle funds like the tax collectors or soldiers, but when it comes to sharing possessions, I do have extra. I want to save things for the next time I set up an apartment so I don’t have to buy them all over again. So they sit in a basement in storage when they could go to helping someone. There are places where I could donate.
But I think what bothers me most is the force of John’s words. “The ax is ready” to put the trees “into the fire.” The ax is also going for the “root,” not just for the base of the tree. I know there are many nice Scriptures like the one fig tree that keeps getting a chance to bear fruit (Luke 13:6-8). But on the other hand it is necessary that we hear the hard truths of Scripture.
We make levels of sin and keeping excess in storage is just not hardly on our sin radar. In fact, this nation has storage units to deal with all of our stuff. I have closets. Do I not trust the Lord to provide if I give it away? Do I take it with the seriousness that John says? Not unless I obey. Not unless I bear fruit in keeping with repentance.
A part of my challenge is knowing the needs of my neighbors. Or the ones that need help allowing others to give it so they can receive it. But I do know that I have an excess. And even in grace I don’t want to take lightly that which He calls for repentance.